Of all the funny things I have seen about human relationships, the funniest perhaps is the thought that you will have to blindly alter your opinions about someone’s actions only based on how close you are to them. Simply put, it goes like this,
If you love someone, you have to agree with everything they are doing, no matter how odd or wrong it is. And if you dislike someone, you have to scorn at everything they do, even if it is the best thing in the world.
At the surface level this seems funny and even laughable. But for some people, agreeing with a person and bringing them into our lives means a complete, total acceptance of everything they are. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not against loving people with all their flaws. Every human is flawed. I am, you are, and so is everyone else. But I do expect my loved ones to call me out on my mistakes when I do them, and I expect them to understand that I am doing it for the best when I tell them about something they’ve done wrong.
This can develop into a huge rant about every miniscule thing with a lot of case studies, but in the interest of keeping this short, I ask just one question. Which part of the ‘contract of love’ specifies that when you are calling someone as friends or family you have to blindly accept whatever they say or do?
I’ve seen relationships being broken and friendships going sour because someone had had enough and had finally decided to call the other one out on whatever mistake it is that they are doing. There was a time when I thought maybe it was the most commonly accepted norm and I was the misfit. But of late, as I am exposed to more sensible people, this notion has slowly changed. Day by day as I find more people who echo my view, I can see that thankfully I’m not the only one that finds this requirement absurd. (Or maybe I actually am growing older. But that is a worry for another day!)
How many of you have lost friendships you thought were going to last for decades because of a single disagreement?
How many of you have broken ties off with people because you could no longer handle their insistence that by loving them you sign some invisible contract that says you have to agree with everything they do?
How many of you have just gone on with a resigned acceptance, maintaining neutrality by neither supporting nor opposing the things they do? And thereby ‘saving’ the relationship?
How many times was it you who had done the mistake and had someone else walk out?
How many of you have actually understood the negativity surrounding such an arrangement and jumped out before it was too late?
Do I expect an answer to the above questions? No, not really. Do I mean to say I have never turned a blind eye to the habits or deeds of my loved ones? No. I am equally guilty, but so is everyone else. Every day is a learning experience, every person brings with them lessons and liabilities. Learning to draw the fine line between self-respect and sacrifice will make all the difference. Learning to differentiate between compromise and complete surrender will save your happiness.
No amount of life philosophies or life lessons will prepare us for the myriad people we meet every day. For, everyone is similar but no two are alike. Learning to love oneself is probably the first step to understand the self-worth and prepare yourself to be loved by someone else!
As usual, my thoughts have wandered (from where they began coherently) by the time I finished this post. But I think I have summed up the essence of an evening with fifteen cousins, seeing the various emotions of people aged from 13 – 40, people who had wildly different opinions about themselves and how they approached relationships and friendships. And just for surviving that evening, I need a cookie!